On New York City’s West Side, a gaggle of press junkies and industry folk gathered to hear a selection of the newest sounds coming from the West Coast’s perennial all-star player, Snoop Dogg. His latest album, The Blue Carpet Treatment, hits stores on October 19.
Though one can never expect too many surprises in Snoop’s subject matter – the record’s title comes from a brand of medicinal weed – a few of the tracks do show some growth. Ted Chung, VP of A&R for Doggystyle Records, told the group that “Snoop was very affected by the Stan ‘Tookie’ Williams case.”Â Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s decision prompted The Dogg to bring back a West Coast-oriented movement, on par with the Atlanta and Houston scenes right now.
Bombastic horns and tender strings lead into the first track, “Think About It.”Â Produced by Frequency, the instrumentals clearly nod toward the Windy City, so soulful they could fit right in on the upcoming Lupe Fiasco LP. Snoop gives listeners an overview of his state of mind – blowing haze, his apathy toward the Grammy Awards, and his frustrations with the justice system.
The Neptunes grace the first single to hit radio, “Vato,”Â with an aggressive beat, featuring B-Real of Cypress Hill on the hook. Chung explained Snoop’s aspirations to create “Black and Mexican unity”Â between residents of Los Angeles with this song. The lyrics show both sides of a gangbanging episode, with unrequited anger and remorse intermingling as much as the two racial representatives.
Hopping on the hyphy movement, “Candy”Â features E-40, MC8, Daz Dillinger, Kurupt, and Goldie Loc, on the biggest posse cut in recent memory. The song – about something sweet and sticky – has a Kelis-imitator repeating the phrase, “Want em? I got em – drippin’ like water”Â over a Rick Rock beat that sounds like the sequel to “Tell Me When To Go.”Â 40 even reminds everyone to “Ghost-ride the whip!”Â
“That’s the Shit,”Â an R. Kelly feature produced by Nottz, opens with a serving girl rising from her knees in front of the King Snoop; an allusion to Eddie Murphy’s Coming to America. His throne could possibly be situated in the Poole Palace. The song leans wit’ it and rocks wit’ it, continuing the snap music trend.
Pharrell and Chad lace the self-esteem booster, “So Special,”Â with a beat that’s sure to excite the ladies. When Snoop uses the pick-up line, “I’m putting out the blunt because I’m seeing I need you in my life more than weed, girl – you’re so special.”Â Brandy and Skateboard P coo to each other on the chorus:
Brandy: “Show me that I’m special/ Tell me boy…”Â
Pharrell: “Girl, you know you’re special/ I bet you were born in the sky.”Â
“Do It,”Â a Terrace Martin production, has Snoop once again addressing the ladies – though these gals are of a different breed. “Put your right foot in, take your right foot out,”Â Snoop raps, “Put your ass on my dick, that’s what I’m talking about.”Â One can assume – since that’s the hook – that one should not expect this to be the follow-up single.
Timbaland stops by the studio, dropping the chaotic frenzy that is “L.A. Zoo.”Â At the end of the song – which will be causing San Andreas earthquakes – Snoop marvels, “Beating down your door in the 06/ We’re bringing back that gorilla shit.”Â
The Game and Snoop make for unlikely partners, as affiliated members of rival gangs The Bloods and Crips, respectively. Over a boom-boom-bat instrumental supplied by newcomer THX (a chemical engineer from South Central who treats beats like science), the boys let listeners into a session of “Gangbanging 101.”Â The Game calls himself “Dr. Martin Luther King with two guns,”Â which makes for an interesting analogy.
Before the final track previewed, Chung recalled how Stevie Wonder had come over to Snoop’s mansion one day, computer equipment in tow. “ProTools literally talks to him,”Â he said, alluding to Wonder’s blindness. The legendary R&B singer spent all night recording (accompanied only by DJ Pooh), leaving in the morning without a trace – only a beat remained. “How to Talk with God”Â – a remake of Wonder’s 1976 classic – allows Snoop to say: “Now that’s tabernacle! Chuuuch!”Â
Five more songs are expected to be completed and added to this list. At this moment, however, fans cannot expect to see a Snoop/Dr. Dre collaboration among the final track listings.
Reported by Jeff Rosenthal in New York